Drifting away.

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Looking back to the second time I came to Australia, entering that classroom nervously where the teacher told me to take the empty seat at the front. Who would have thought that simple gesture to sit in a seat that is usually occupied by someone else, would build what has now become years of friendship.

We live in a huge web of narratives, the narratives of the people we pass by daily and our trajectories collide for unknown reasons and people enter your life changing it from everything you’ve known it to be, towards something, for better or worse.

Reading a wealth of memoir’s over the past year that tie in closely with university material and what I believe in, I realise how important these moments are. Each of these moments adds up and eventually define who we are, who we think we are and what others see in us.

That moment when I sat on that chair marks the moment I made my long term friends. The friends I go through my first parties, jobs, failures, graduations, boyfriends, weddings and not long from now first children. As we proceed through these milestones, our personalities develop into the people we want to be. Long gone are the days where we want to be liked by one another to a point where we aren’t ourselves anymore. The days where we only saw perfection in each other are gone. Left are the days where we learn to love one another for our flaws, accept our differences and move on individually with our lives, together. I’d like to say that we haven’t drifted apart but over the years we have become different people and gravitated towards other people we identify with. We have drifted and those ‘firsts’ we experienced together don’t matter as much anymore.

Friendship is no longer calculated through the length of time we’ve known each other but who we have become and whether they add value to our lives now. As someone who always wants to do the ‘right’ thing by everyone, I struggle in situations where the right thing isn’t so clear. Is the right thing to acknowledge the drift and put the actions in motion to save that friendship or be aware of the drift and let it be. It took a while to realise the drifting was occurring and allowing the natural process of this story to pan out means that perhaps in a few years, we won’t be friends at all.

Honestly, the latter seems right because I know that the former option would require me to pretend and force something that isn’t happening without my interference, so perhaps it shouldn’t be that way at all?

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5 things I am grateful for:

Luck/Coincidence – Whichever it may be I am thankful of it lately.

Kindle – I am grateful for my little sister who bought it for me, but also grateful it was invented in the first place because right now I can’t imagine a day without it by my side on train rides.

My family

The continual opportunities that I am presented in life, thank you. I know that not everyone gets equal opportunities, I hope that in the future, I can give to those who don’t.

Nature – Sadly I haven’t been out much lately because winter isn’t my favourite season but I did take the time to appreciate the last few minutes of the sunset yesterday.

 

 

Alcohol.

I don’t think I have every quite expressed my hate towards alcohol. There are many reasons why this topic is at the forefront of my mind right now and therefore it is a perfect opportunity to talk about it.

I grew up in a household with very responsible parents. My mother has never had alcohol and is extremely against it and my dad had a rare drink but overall alcohol was not a huge part of my upbringing. I was told not to drink and that it was bad for you, that was about it.

As I grew older and my peers experimented with alcohol I was still somewhat not convinced by ‘how great’ it was. After school, I had my somewhat fair share of alcohol, not a lot compared to others but a few drunk nights and that has always been about it. I don’t drink very much right now and the reasons why I was told alcohol was bad for you when I was young is turning into a much bigger picture, a complex one.

There is much greater awareness towards early education in alcoholism for school students nowadays. There are advertisements on television targeted at parents to educate how their alcohol use affects their children’s upbringing. However, a disjoint between this education and culture exists.

This week while I was volunteering, spending time with my teenage mentee, the topic of drugs and alcohol use is presented in the book we go through each week. I go through everything related to alcohol and even some tips on how to not succumb to peer pressure and avoid people’s comments when you say you aren’t drinking.

Then my boyfriend tells me that his manager at work is distributing beers. And they are allowed to bring alcohol and drink after 3 pm if they like. In my mind, there is just something wrong with a workplace that promotes drinking and sees it as a strategy to ‘wind down’ or ‘chill out’ after a hard days work. Why not promote things that have long term benefits for the employee but I know most workplaces use alcohol.

During placement this week, I realise the sadness and trauma alcohol can bring to a family. Family breakdown, violence, sexual abuse, homelessness and many more issues stem from alcoholism and the inability for humans to control themselves.

And lastly, my own anxiousness that has come from an unknown place regarding alcohol. How I feel when people close to me are intoxicated. I feel angry and frustrated that they couldn’t control themselves and annoyed that I must deal with the aftermath.

I know it must seem like I don’t know how to have a good time but I can have a good time without alcohol. I drink sometimes but with caution. I don’t blame those who become alcoholics, we are surrounded by a culture that promotes alcohol left, right and centre.

All I can say is that it destroys lives and everyone should think before they drink. 

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5 things I am grateful for:

My family – so thankful for the stability, love and care I was and am given.

Placement – I feel so enriched everyday, I am learning so much and enjoying the experience.

Old friends – nothing beats a friendly talk was a familiar voice.

Love – it is crazy how strong this emotion can be, even in the darkest of situations, love definitely shines a light.

Me – In the past week I am realising how grateful I am to simply be me, flaws and all.

Till again!

Respect.

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Moving to Melbourne after living in Canberra for a fair few years was exciting and hard on many different aspects. One major concern when I moved 1.5 years ago was friends. I had had the same friends for a while now, they were familiar and I was comfortable.

What I failed to realise when I was younger but understand now is the quality of the people you surround yourself with. 

Some of this, I realised during the last years of my undergraduate degree where I voluntarily drifted from the people who were toxic in my life. They added nothing but pain, they didn’t make me a better person and they definitely did not make me happy. 

It’s funny because when you are a child you struggle to differentiate good friends from bad friends. You just long to be friends with everyone, be loved and liked, most importantly, have someone to play with at lunch.

We are taught that having friends is important, but we are not taught how to be good friends or to tell the difference from good and bad friends. Or that it is okay to walk away without seeming weak. We are not taught how to respect ourselves and because of this so many children get hurt by their ‘friends’ everyday.

Because of this I only learnt to walk away from people who shouldn’t have had a place in my life, a few years ago.

Today, I find myself saying no to gatherings with people who I don’t feel my best self around without hesitation. Today I know that if I don’t find the quality in relationships, it probably isn’t worth my time. Today I know that if I am in doubt, the answer is probably no. Today I know how to respect myself but I wish I learnt that long time ago. 

This does not mean I do not give people a chance, I do, it just means I trust my intuition. It means I cherish every moment with people who make me happy, enlighten me and spark joy. And the ones who make me feel uncomfortable or put negative thoughts in my head, are kept a little further away.

I am sure that some people feel the same about me too, but that is okay.

The key is to show appreciation, love and respect to those who treat you with the same regard. The people who don’t like you? Well that’s okay, because no one can like everyone.

Quality over Quantity. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Lazy days in – I was supposed to do my assignment, I sort of did but it was mostly a lazy day in.

Youtube – Man, do you hold a wealth of free knowledge!

Coffee – I wasn’t drinking coffee for a while but the cold weather has sparked a new love for it!

Creativity – Just loving my creative thoughts lately.

Nature – while sitting in my bedroom, I observed the changing weather all day long, it was beautiful.

Till again ♥

Without you, there is no us.

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January 2016 – Sri Lanka

In times of stress and worry, I fail to look after myself. Sometimes the pressures of life make it seem as though you come last, everything else matters but you. I am here to tell you and myself that this is not true, even though you may feel otherwise.

Whatever your worries and/or stresses may be, there are some things we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Not only will these things alleviate your stress but also prompt you to formulate more logical, objective and structured answers to your problems.

  1. Eat – nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eating is vital. Your brain is already on overdrive in times of stress, not eating will cause a malfunction. So do not forget to eat. Balanced meals would be ideal, but eating in general is a good place to start. (unless you are a stress eater, which in this case probably doesn’t apply to you)
  2. Sleep – my simple rule when making big decisions or when trying to get through something, is sleep. No better way is there to shut yourself off for a few minutes or hours, to rest and settle and approach the problem with a better mindset.
  3. Go outside – extremely overlooked when stressed is nature and the calmness it can bring. I find going for a walk (doesn’t have to be long) and focusing on the sky, trees (especially leaves) and the weather extremely relaxing. It also puts things into perspective, that this world is full of great simple things, you just have to notice them.
  4. Take a shower or bath – this is almost ritualistic to me. After a really bad day or situation, I take a shower almost to signify getting rid of negative emotions and thoughts and moving on refreshed.
  5. Read a book – sometimes I know that my problems are small and easy to deal with but I am still upset and overwhelmed, I have a go to book called ‘Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness’ by Ajahn Brahm who is an English buddhist monk that writes short thoughtful, quirky and light stories that gives you a change of heart. That is just my go to, whatever works for you is good.
  6. Journal/write things down – Externalising your feelings and thoughts is so helpful when you are overwhelmed and confused. You can reflect on what you have written and even make your own prompts/questions to answer, to better understand how you are feeling. I journal a few times a week and this space is also an outlet for me, writing what I am going through is a release.

 

And those are my 6 strategies that may or may not work for you, but they work for me. There are many others and not every problem in life can be solved with these. I acknowledge some problems are extremely complex and terrible, but for day to day get downs, these work well.

Take care of yourself and love yourself, you are important. 

Yes!

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I recently challenged myself, not in a big way but a small one that matters to me. I said yes to something I wouldn’t have ever considered a few years back. I suppose that is what growing up is all about.

A friend who is part of a committee, recently asked if I would be interested in speaking about my volunteering experiences at a university event. Surprisingly, I didn’t think twice about it and said yes!

With that one small word, I bound myself to a commitment, one that I cannot passover or change my mind about last minute. What surprised me more than my response is that I was asked in the first place. It sparked joy (remember those moments of joy I was talking about in an earlier post, this is it!).

Leading up to this speech, I was worried, hesitant, a little nervous mostly because I was underprepared and wondered whether I would make a fool of myself in front of strangers.

The day before my speech, I sent it to my friend so she could have a look over it, for feedback and advice. I was worried she would hate it and wouldn’t know how to tell me not to speak at all. That wasn’t the case, I was being extremely harsh on my self, she said it was ‘awesome!’.

On the day I hadn’t practiced much but I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was confident. I don’t quite know why I felt so sure of myself at that point in time but I was, I trusted myself. 

The speech went smoothly, I wasn’t speaking too fast, I made eye contact, I saw a few smiles amongst the crowd, I felt good.

I used to hate public speaking, everything about it frightened me. I am proud of myself for saying yes, for speaking voluntarily, for taking on the challenge, for trying something different and most importantly trusting myself.

I urge all of you to try something different. you will be giving yourself the gift of growing, learning and believing in yourself. 

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Avocados – delicious!
  2. Youtube videos – Some youtubers make great content and are so inspirational!
  3. Days off – lately I have been exhausted, today is a day off to myself.
  4. Clean homes – my home is not clean, it is everywhere, I hate untidy spaces but I am so tired of always cleaning and am trying to give myself a break. So grateful when homes are clean.
  5. Books – I work with books while at work and I truly feel at peace being surrounded by them!

Till again!

Homelessness.

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Yesterday was a horrendous day, meteorologically. Heavy rain, hail and strong winds which ended up flooding some streets and train stations. Not a day where you want to leave the house at all.

I took a trip down to the local grocery shops when the weather calmed down to get some more soy milk. On the cold, damp pavement under minimal shelter, outside the store was a homeless woman.

The moment I saw her I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her situation. I walked into the store thinking I would buy something extra (bread or a pastry) to give to her on the way out. Her sign indicated that she was sleeping rough, the whole thing melted my heart.

I know there is a lot of homelessness, it’s sad and horrible and I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is through the cold winter months.

I usually give change if I have some, not thinking about where that money will go. A few years ago I would have said that I wouldn’t want them using it on drugs and alcohol and I still don’t but what use will it be in thinking the worst of them. Yes, most of those individuals have ended up on the street from gambling, drug and alcohol problems and broken down families. Perhaps giving them money might mean that we continue to feed the system, a cycle of homelessness but at the same time maybe that person will go buy some food, or find a place to stay, how do we know? who are we to judge? we can’t assume their past.

No one chooses to be homeless. Yes, a series of decisions and actions may have brought them into this situation but we all make mistakes. I know the majority will say ‘well I would have stopped gambling or taking drugs ages ago if I knew I would end up homeless, it’s obvious, they brought this upon themselves’. But again it is extremely easy to say something like that when you are not in the situation and you are privileged enough to come from a loving family, with stability and grow up in a good environment, with great friends and education. In saying that there are plenty of us that don’t have all those things and don’t end up on the street, but everyone is unique and different. Somewhere in between, homeless individuals lost their way, they didn’t receive the support, the love/attention or didn’t have someone to just listen.

We all have a story. We should all remind ourselves that homeless individuals are people, they have lives, they have feelings and they are finding someway to survive. If surviving to them means short term gratification such as smoking, who are we to judge. A moment of happiness when everything else has fallen apart.

These are my opinions on this topic. I know everyone has extremely different views, I know that there are bad people out there who have done bad things and are therefore homeless. I know you can’t fix someone but the best I can do is try to make a small change in that persons life, be it for a couple of seconds or minutes.

But to all those individuals sleeping rough in these winter months, I applaud you for your bravery and courage to keep on surviving. To wake up everyday and continue while bystanders can be rude and ignorant. You are all so resilient and I hope that one day you will get the support you need to pick yourselves back up again.

Friendship continued.

Further expanding on a previous post about friendship and people talking behind others backs, I realise that it is something that I too need to consider and refrain myself from at times.

I constantly state that nobody is perfect and in my lifetime have made countless mistakes – said the wrong things and hurt people without quite realising, or realising a second too late.

I like to think that the majority tries their best to be good people, to be kind and value those around them.

A general rule when working with kids and defining boundaries that I have been told is to not tell a child anything that you wouldn’t tell in front of their parents/guardians. This helps define when it is and isn’t appropriate to communicate certain things to a child.

In the same way, I want to make a pledge to myself where I will try my best to not say anything about anyone that I wouldn’t be comfortable saying in front of them. I don’t do this often but I will aim to be more aware of those times that go unnoticed.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. I can’t fix everyone around me but I can definitely start with improving myself. Although it sucks to be talked about by others, I want to stop doing it myself. It isn’t easy in the current world we live in, where everyone is so critical and hateful but we have got to start somewhere.